Renewable energy offers an impressive potential to deliver low cost, efficient energy that is also environmentally friendly (also known as “green energy”). Although its production techniques are not yet very cost effective, renewable energy has two main advantages over other types of energy: it is clean and it is sustainable in the long run.
The most widely available type of renewable energy worldwide is hydroelectrical energy, which currently accounts for 15% of global electricity production. Wind power and solar power are increasing worldwide, and due to government tax incentives and grants, a lot of capital is directed towards the development and research of these energy types.
Unlike fossil fuel energy types that use natural sources as well, renewable energies are known as clean energies. Their production does not involve any oxidation process (hence not causing the release of more CO2 gases in the atmosphere, as in the case of coal energy) nor any hazardous waste or residue as in the case of nuclear power energy. It is estimated that 1-kilowatt home solar system will produce enough energy to save 170 lbs of coal being burned and 300 lbs of carbon dioxide being added to Earth’s atmosphere. Wind power as well as hydroelectrical power will also help decrease the amount of green house emissions due to conventional energy production.
The sustainability quality comes from two features of renewable energy: their source is renewable, therefore it will not be susceptible to supply shocks like oil; and lower production costs and the potential of future technological improvements promise clean, renewable energy that is also cost efficient in the long run. The latest trends show higher inflows of private capital into solar and wind energy. Alternative energy has also proven to be better for developing countries where delivery and production of energy may be done through less efficient methods. Kenya is the currently the developing country with the highest increase in solar panels per capita; people who use them become less dependent on the country’s central energy supply.